Both traditional and social media lit up earlier this year following the launch of a ground-breaking campaign for charity Malaria No More which was fronted by David Beckham. In this 55-second video ad, the football star makes a passionate appeal for support. He makes it, however, in nine different languages. No, David Beckham has not suddenly become a polyglot. Instead, his image has been subtly manipulated to perfectly lip-sync him with the voices of others by using a technology called “deepfake”. It is this technology which is the most vivid harbinger of the next great cyber threat to our society. Of course, changing faces in videos is not new. Actors have been digitally recreated for films like The Matrix Reloaded and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button more than a decade ago, and synthetic characters like Gollum from The Lord of the Rings, pasted onto actors wearing motion-capture suits, are now ubiquitous in cinema. But these are laborious, painstaking, expensive works of art that are handcrafted at huge expense. Over time, new technology has been developed to make this process easier and faster. For instance, in 2011, computer scientists at Harvard University described a new method that could replace someone’s… Read full this story
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